How to Take a Screen Capture with Windows and Mac
You’ve seen screenshots, the web equivalent of a photograph of web content that has been taken and then transferred to another document or image. You can use them to save the bar codes for gift cards, to share chat conversations you have with your children or others, or to save an image that you wish to use as the background for your computer or cell phone screen.
Screenshots should therefore be regarded as a basic function for internet users. If you have never taken a screenshot yourself, here from soup-to-nuts is the process you will need to follow to master this essential skill. Like many processes on the Internet, it is far easier than you might have imagined, and after your first few successes, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it, and why you waited so long to learn. Let’s begin.
Screen Capture with Windows
If you take a moment to look at your computer keyboard, you will be reminded that there are a wealth of keys that sit neglected, off in the margins, envious of the letter keys that see all the action, and waiting for their moment in the sun.
One of these, in the upper-right corner, has two lines of writing on it: “PrtScn” on the top, and “Sysrq” on the bottom. In some cases these terms will be abbreviated differently. To its right is ScrLk, and to the right of ScrLk is Pause/Break. That should be enough to identify the PrtScn/Sysrq key.
If you press that PrtScn/Sysrq key, Windows will capture the entire screen, and copy it to your clipboard. The clipboard of course is term for a data holding area where information you may wish to transfer elsewhere is kept until you make the transfer.
A Screenshot of a Window within the Screen
What if you don’t want the entire screen, but just a “window,” or portion of the screen? First, you will need to click the window you want a screen shot of, in order to make it active. You have already done this with images and in some cases sections of text, by clicking your mouse to highlight the borders of the image at issue.
Next, while holding down “Alt,” press that PrtScr/SysRq key. That’s it. Your specified window will be saved to the clipboard.
Playing With Paste
It is now time to put your clipped screenshot somewhere. First, open the document that you’re planning to preserve it in, or an image that you are editing. Next, hold down the “Crtl” key and press the “V” key. The screenshot being held in the clipboard will be pasted into your document, or into the image being edited.
If you are interested in pasting your clipboarded screenshot into a graphics file, then after you have taken the screenshot, you will want to start “paint,” and then paste, and then save. It’s that easy.
For more visually-oriented computer users, there is also a dedicated program for taking screenshots, Open Programs, and then “snipping tool,” or open Control Panel, and then “record steps to reproduce a problem.”
Screen Capture with Mac
Your Mac keyboard has its own set of often-neglected keys, and screenshooting will allow some of them to come into play. To take a screenshot with Mac, hold down the “command” and “shift” keys, and then press the “3” key (also known as the “#/3” key).
The computer will capture the screen, and save on the desktop as a file. When you look for the file, it will say something like “Screen shot (YEAR) (DATE) at 10:45.00 AM.png.”
Taking a screenshot of a portion of the screen involves holding down “command” and “shift” and then pressing the “4” key (a.k.a. the “$/4” key). You can then draw a square or rectangle with your mouse to indicate the area that is to be captured. As an alternative, you can hold down the spacebar and click on a window or other object in order to capture. As with a full screenshot, the computer will save this partial screenshot as a file, labeled with something like “Screen shot (YEAR) (DATE) at 10:45.00 AM.png.”
If you don’t require a file, and instead desire to place your screenshot in the clipboard, a separate set of commands will be required. First, hold down the “control” key, and then perform any of the key combinations already described, and the computer will take and copy a screenshot to the clipboard, and not as a file. Once it is in the clipboard, you can paste by holding down “command” and pressing “V.”
Screenshots Taken On iDevices
In order to take a screenshot on any of those little devices for which Apple is so famous, such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, press “home” and “sleep/wake.” Your device will capture the full screen and save it as a photo. Firm ware 2.0 or higher is required for this function.
Screenshots Are As Easy As Pie
And those in a nutshell are the ABCs of screenshooting, which is a far more useful function than you might imagine. Screenshots offer a convenient way to build libraries of images, whether of shopping list items, interesting websites, or even to take a quick picture of your own “to do” list for the day. Perhaps the best known instances involve a screenshot that preserves embarrassing or ill-considered uploads, where the screenshot was taken before the original poster realized his or her mistake and took the content down.
Teaching your children to take screenshots will allow them to show their friends the high score they achieved on a video game. On a more serious note, if it should ever prove necessary, it will allow your children to preserve the evidence if they see something inappropriate on their social media platforms.
The list of uses for screenshots goes on and on. It’s an easy skill to master, and once you have, you’ll be adding you own ideas to this list, and enjoying the enhanced connectivity that has always been the Internet’s promise.